Scotland in Summer - Need Help!

Nov 17th, 2013, 02:12 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,289
We've visted for a week in late May / early June the past two years and really enjoyed it. The Callander/Skye/Loch Ness trip had more of a wow factor but the Fife / Royal Deeside trip was nice too.

Good luck with the planning.
indy_dad is offline  
Nov 17th, 2013, 02:32 PM
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I took a trip to Scotland this past August, flying into Edinburgh and then traveling through Fife, Aberdeenshire, around the highlands to Skye, meandering back to Edinburgh for a week at the festivals. You might be interested in my trip report:
Nikki is online now  
Nov 17th, 2013, 03:11 PM
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Dulciusex: perhaps if you didn't spend sooooooo much time denigrating others, we'd pay more attention to some of the stuff you post . . .

Just sayin'

(BTW - You are not the only member of Fodors who knows a LOT about the UK in general and Scotland specifically. Nor are you the only one who,lives there)
janisj is offline  
Nov 17th, 2013, 03:45 PM
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If a road trip was actually meant and not "car-touring,"then perhaps using route numbers instead of towns wouldn't have been so misleading.Thurso, Wick and certainly John O'Groats are not places one would stay unless they were catching an early morning ferry.

All here are welcome to their own opinions but ridiculing someone because they disagree with yours or might have misinterpreted it is not at all helpful.
historytraveler is offline  
Nov 17th, 2013, 04:38 PM
Original Poster
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I really appreciate all of the helpful and thoughtful responses.

Thank you especially for the shared trip reports. I've read (and enjoyed!) many of them before, but reading them now with greater insight and sense has been very helpful.

In conclusion, thank you again. I'll take a break now, as I'm a bit bummed by the snark.
amelville is offline  
Nov 17th, 2013, 06:04 PM
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Hi Amelville

Did not read all the responses but just wondered if anyone mentioned (since you will be there in August) going to the Tattoo Festival on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle? It is a 90 minute show with proceeds going to support military families. We saw it in 2010 and it was great! Representatives in the performance from all over the world, each continent, with gymnasts, motorcycles, bag pipes, dancers, marching bands, horses and more.
And in the Highlands, do not forget to look for the Hairy Coos (they are adorable).
Have fun, Mary Ann
ReillyQ is offline  
Nov 17th, 2013, 07:14 PM
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amelville, On a more helpful note, your itinerary looks pretty good. I'd stay several nights in Edinburgh then drive through the East Neuk fishing villages and St. Andrews to Aberdeen stopping at Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven. As Big Russ and janisj pointed out, this is probably the best area in Scotland for castle viewing. You could stay in Aberdeen or one of the smaller towns such as Ballater or Banchory. Another option would be a B&B in the countryside. No right or wrong way to do it just a personal choice.

Instead of staying in Inverness, I suggest Nairn, Beauly or the Black Isle as better options.

I'd spend just one night near Loch Lomond and maybe a night between Aberdeen area and Skye.

Don't under estimate what you can do by spending several days in Edinburgh.
historytraveler is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 02:28 AM
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On another forum, the egregious Improvisor said that he hangs around until he gets bored. Don't worry, I have met his sort before.
The Canon and I actually drove from Massachusetts to California dropping off at places like the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Yellowstone, Yosemite etc. We must have been slightly mad. We never booked ahead because there were no mobile phones in those days.
Our favourite Scottish holiday these days is to stop off for a day in the Borders or Lake District and then stay on Arran. We then take the Lochranza ferry and go to Mull via Mull of Kintyre. We return via Callander.
As somebody else said, you are spoiled for choice. It's a good excuse to return.
MissPrism is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 02:44 AM
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Can I spend Christmas at your place? Bet it's a hoot.
Havana128 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 03:48 AM
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Miss Prism

This is our favourite route as well.

Carlisle, Dumfries and Galloway, Ayrshire, Arran, Kintyre, Oban, Mull, Loch Fyne and back.

So much to see and it misses most of the tourist hot spots.
Dickie_Gr is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 06:33 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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You can fly non-stop from PHL to Glasgow. PHL is about a 100 minute drive from BWI (shorter than most layovers).

These non-stops are about $1200-$1400 in summer (depending on day of the week you leave and how many nights.

You might look into it via doing their "month-long search" from PHL-GLA and a trip length range of "11-13 days" (to allow your 10-12 day trip after the overnight flight).
bardo1 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 07:31 PM
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Sounds like a wonderful trip in the planning.

When I took my nephews to Scotland (July--they were in grade school and I was a teacher so had to travel on school vacation time) I did not book anything ahead, but stopped at the TI to help us find a room as with three we needed a triple and those are harder to come by. Never slept on park benches or in car. Always a quick call or two and they had us booked into pleasant rooms.

We ran into highland game at Fort Augustus (Loch Ness area) and it was a delightful day. There was an emcee who described the events and requirements, highland dancing demos, a chance to see farm animals (unusual breeds) and events for kids (no pre-sign up, so the boys were able to participate). We enjoyed the watching, participating, and learned a lot about Scottish history. Hope you get a chance to find one on your road trip.
irishface is offline  
Nov 21st, 2013, 01:38 AM
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I forgot to mention that Arran has stone circles and some very fine standing stones.

You have to walk about a mile to get to them, there is no visitor centre and very few other people around.
They stand in the middle of a moor and there's a strange mystical feel to them, at least to me.
MissPrism is offline  
Nov 21st, 2013, 03:36 AM
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Another vote for Arran - it's a shame it is so often blissfully ignored by those who've never heard of it and just want to do the usual "Edinburgh, Skye, Fort William, Loch Ness" stuff.
Gordon_R is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2013, 02:16 PM
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Well Arran is OK but not a patch on Barra, Eig, Harris and Lewis, as well as Unst. OK, I admit Unst is a bit hard to get to. But the others are accessible enough and so often blissfully ignored by those who've never heard of them and just want the usual Skye, Arran, Great Cumbrae and Mull, stuff.

Landing on the beach at Barra is worth the cost all on its own. Where else does a flight schedule have to fit the tides of the sea?

Next time try going a little farther afield than Arran.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2013, 08:38 PM
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>>Next time try going a little farther afield than Arran.<<

What makes you think those mentioning Arran haven't been farther afield? Just because one likes Arran doesn't mean they don't know/love other parts of Scotland.

You are new to Fodors so don't know everyone's history -- but you do tend to make a LOT of incorrect assumptions.
janisj is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2013, 08:53 PM
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Amen, have been to Arran as well as Barra, Eig,Harris and Lewis but not Unst...too far afield

Have also been to Fair Isle ( my favorite) but still recommend Arran as an excellent option.
historytraveler is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2013, 01:39 AM
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You are new to Fodors so don't know everyone's history...

He has been before under another name and I hear that he infests other travel forums. He has been offensive to several of our more knowledgeable contributors.

Anyway, hoping that the OP hasn't logged off in exasperation. The British Isles makes up an archipelago of wonderful islands. There are all the Scottish ones, I remember flying from Iceland and marvelling at the number.
There are beautiful English islands, such as the Scillies and the Farne Islands and several beautiful and interesting Welsh ones.
However, they are mainly treats for repeat visitors.
For a first time visitor to Scotland, the thing about Arran is its accessibility.
Josser is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2013, 01:50 AM
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Whoops, to continue.
When I was a lad, the family would take a train from Glasgow to Ardrossan. We'd take the ferry and then hire bikes to get around the island.

The long suffering OP wanted

1. Interesting museums, castles, gardens
2. Highland games - We'd love to spend a day at a festival, if the timing works out
3. Beautiful scenery, nature walks, light hiking
4. Time to relax, walk around, enjoy a pint, enjoy the locals, not feel scheduled.

I don't know about the Highland Games, but Arran has all those, even two castles.
As somebody said, there are stone circles, so you don't have to bother with Stonehenge ;-)

You can see golden eagles flying over the distillery and in the summer, you might see a basking shark.

I don't work for the tourist board, honestly!
Josser is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2013, 07:30 AM
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Everybody's proposing all sorts of alternatives without benefit of a lot of feedback from the OP, so what the h3ll, I'll join back in.

For a relatively convenient "immersion" in rural Scotland, complete with marvelous scenery, castles, islands, and a serious dose of ancient history, one could do far worse than cruising around Argyll and Bute, very convenient to Glasgow. Bute is a comfortable and reasonably attractive island with plenty to see, and the Loch Fyne area is wonderful. Stay in Inveraray (Highland games on the castle grounds in July) with its grandiose castle and perfect little whitewashed village, and then take one of the best day drives in Scotland IMO - from Inveraray up to Crianlarich and back south on the B road next to Loch Awe, then Kilmartin Glen, with more prehistoric bits littering the valley floor than you can imagine - stone circles, burial cairns, standing stones, carved crosses in the wee churchyard, and a welcoming little pub/hotel overlooking it all. It's magic regardless of the weather - spooky and surreal, full of ghosts and very beautiful.
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